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Good Results!

I think the results from the Iowa caucuses are the best outcome our country could have hoped for. For both parties, there was no clear winner. Ironically, this means completely opposite things for the two parties.

On the Republican side, Ted Cruz pulled a surprise upset over Donald Trump, but Cruz is the evangelical candidate in a state that loves evangelicals (in 2012 Santorum won, in 2008 it was Huckabee). This means that the Republican candidates will continue to attack each other, as they have been doing with gusto for the last few weeks.

On the Democratic side, there was a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But unlike in the GOP, this means that the two candidates will get closer together. Clinton cannot ignore Sanders and his unabashed progressive policies, so she will move back to the center.

An early coronation of Clinton would have been bad for the country, not to mention Clinton’s chances in the general election. If her only competition was from the right, she would have triangulated that way. But as the New Yorker put it “for Clinton to unite her party and galvanize it for what could be a tough fight in the fall, she needs to find some way to appeal to younger voters, who have fastened onto Sanders’s anti-establishment message.” Attacking their candidate (or his policies) won’t work, and she knows it.

And lastly, it is hilarious looking at the response from the pundits today, who are all over the map. The New York Times claims that a virtual tie for Clinton is a win for her campaign. While NBC is claiming that it is a loss. The takeaway from all this is that if nothing else, you can’t believe the pundits (even me!), polls mean almost nothing (even the entrance polls to the caucuses showed Trump with a significant lead), and that politics in America has changed, and will continue to change.



  1. ThatGuy wrote:

    I hate to play the media bias card, but the NYT is firmly in the Clinton camp. They endorsed her the other day and most of their coverage (like the Krugman article you linked a few days back) paints Bernie as the unelectable, unrealistic, cranky candidate of upstart millennials with more anger than intelligence.

    Part of me gets this. NY likes Hillary in general, and I think it’s worth stating that I think she’d make a fine President. But I really wish there were more articles with the attitude that you have above: a robust discussion of Democratic/progressive principles is GOOD for the party and the movement. I was ecstatic to see the Clinton campaign call for more debates (though the DNC still appears to be dragging its feet) because if the country at large is ever going to accept that things like the ACA, sane gun regulations, consumer protection, and cheap college educations are beneficial, they actually need to hear about them from proponents of these policies. Preferably as often as possible.

    I, too, hope Clinton comes more meaningfully to the left, and completely agree that triangulating to the right too early would be a mistake. Not in campaign terms, but in what change we can expect from a second Clinton administration.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    I think it is also interesting that Cruz’s win shows that old style politics still works, at least in the Republican primary. He was largely funded by special interests (the unholy alliance of big banks and social conservatives), who also ran a traditional campaign of retail, door-to-door politics driven by evangelical church goers.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  3. Hmm wrote:

    This must be a strong win for the extreme centrists

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    LOL! That’s me, an extreme centrist!

    So, I’m going to repeat (and extend) my original prediction for the presidential election. I think it will be Rubio against Clinton, and Clinton will win. The new part of the prediction is that Julian Castro will be her veep.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink
  5. westomoon wrote:

    IK, Cruz’ roots in the ugliest part of evangelism run much deeper than a political ground game: he is an “anointed king” of the Dominionist (aka Reconstructionist) arm of evangelical Xianity. It’s truly worth a bit of googling — very, very creepy stuff. These articles from 2013 are a good start:; .

    That said, I’m finding it hard to know how seriously to take these results, because I remember the Iowa R caucuses of 4 years ago. On election night, they announced Romney had won; two days later, he’d tied with Santorum; awhile after that, it was quietly announced that actually Santorum had won Iowa; but most of the Iowa delegates were Ron Paul supporters, because Paul had coopted the separate process that chooses them in Iowa.

    It’s interesting that Iowa chose to announce the results they did at first blush. But what that actually means… can’t help but think it’s a little early to read anything into the Iowa results, including which R actually won.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink
  6. westomoon wrote:

    IK, were you aware of Michael Bloomberg’s stirrings of a week or so ago?

    He is indicating that, if Trump or Cruz win the R nomination, he will run as an Independent. Since he is seeing March as the latest deadline for getting on all 50 States’ ballots, he won’t have the luxury of a final choice of candidate to guide his decision.

    I actually find this a rather comforting possibility. *grinning* But then, I’m a Bernie voter.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink
  7. Hassan wrote:

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
  8. Ravilyn Sanders wrote:

    I see what you did there! Slyly gave yourself some pundit credentials, didn’t ya? You ain’t no pundit. You’re way smarter.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink
  9. Ralph wrote:

    IK – interesting analysis, but I’m a little confused by the third paragraph of this post. So long as Sanders is right behind HRC’s rear-view mirror, I don’t see how “she will move back to the center” but instead will continue to tack more left than her typical stance (center-left but clearly to the right of Sanders), unless you meant to imply her normal positions are actually right of center absent Sanders, which is an intriguing thought, if debatable (her Wall St. connections notwithstanding).

    Anyway, your prediction of Castro as her running mate may stand a pretty good chance, esp to counter Rubio’s hispanic cred if he should be the nominee, though questionable that Hispanics already in his camp would drift over in large numbers. Besides, a recent NBC poll shows her leading Rubio among Hispanics by 59 to 36 percent, if such polls mean much at this point.

    If Cruz is the nominee, she could pick the Frito Bandito and still run the table. Even his own mother rolls her eyes at some of his phony piety and blatant pandering. Check out this often awkward “making of a campaign ad shoot”, esp around the 1:30 mark. TrusTed? How about BusTed!

    Anyway, as is often said, people vote for President not VP, so running mates are unlikely to change the outcome (though John McCain may argue).

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    Ravilyn, I don’t think the explanation is “smarter”, it is more than I don’t have an axe to grind. But if you really want to know what is really going on in the election, follow

    Ralph, you might be confused because I think the “center” is more to the left that you do.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 10:42 pm | Permalink